Prostate matters is a not for profit organisation committed to providing free information about prostate issues from leading Clinical Authorities.

Symptoms and Prostate Problems – LUTS

Professor Roger Kirby - Consultant Urological Surgeon
Overview by Professor Roger Kirby, President elect of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM)

A Pre-eminent Urological Surgeon, recently retired

Prostate symptoms, referred to as Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) are a very frequent issue for men, and unfortunately become more common with age. In men the most likely cause is developing obstruction thanks to non-cancerous enlargement and growth of the prostate gland (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – BPH). However, the symptoms may also relate to problems with bladder function and this too may affect women. Therefore, typically, LUTS are described as being either
Filling or Storage symptoms, which include:
Increased frequency in the need to urinate
  • Increased urgency in the need to urinate even leading to incontinence
  • Having to urinate possibly several times at night

Voiding or Obstructive symptoms, which include:

  • Poor urinary stream
  • Difficulty initiating the flow of urine
  • The sensation of poor bladder emptying
  • Needing to strain to pass urine
All these symptoms are very common and are actually very unlikely to relate to Prostate Cancer.
However. there are circumstances that mean Prostate Cancer needs to be considered. They are as follows:
  • If you have a family history of Prostate Cancer. This particularly means if your father or a brother has had Prostate Cancer, your chances of also getting Prostate Cancer are higher than if no one in your family has had it. For further information look at the Prostate Cancer Genetics page.
  •  If you are of black ethnic origin, or are overweight or obese, these have increased risk factors for Prostate Cancer
  •  You are having a medical health “screen”. If either you have a family history of Prostate Cancer, or you are of black ethnic origin, or are aged 50 or older, the medical professional conducting the screening may recommend it.
Before deciding to have the PSA test, you may want to talk to your GP and practice nurse, as well as your partner or a friend or family member.
There is currently no national screening programme for Prostate Cancer in the UK because the PSA test is not always accurate.
What is a Raised PSA level ?
The amount of PSA in your blood is measured in nanograms of PSA per millilitre of blood (ng/ml).
If you are aged 50 to 59, raised PSA is 2ng/ml or higher. If you are aged 60-69, raised PSA is 3ng/ml or higher
A raised PSA level in your blood may be a sign of Prostate Cancer, but it can also be a sign of another condition that is not cancer, such as:
• enlarged prostate
• prostatitis
• urinary infection
For further information please go to the page “What Happens If You Have a Raised PSA?
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